L400 Wheel Alignment Adjustment|Riding comfort, steering feel, and road noise all improved!

You shouldn’t think, “I haven’t messed with it since I bought it, so it can’t be that crazy. Mine was crazy from the beginning.

What is wheel alignment?

“Wheel alignment” refers to the direction and position of the tires. With proper alignment, there is less fatigue from driving due to moderate straight-line performance and cornering performance and other steering stability. However, if the alignment is out of alignment…
Since you can’t take your hands off the handlebars for a second, you get tired easily and your tires wear out on one side. In the case of space gears, premature wear and tear on the undercarriage components can also cause noise.

Why do I need to check the wheel alignment?

Automobiles are made so that the alignment can be adjusted originally, and they are fixed with bolts at the specified value when new, but since they are only bolted, there is a chance that they may shift with strong impacts.

Furthermore, as the vehicle gets older, the spring will weaken in its ability to lift the vehicle and the height of the vehicle will be lowered. This will naturally cause the car’s suspension settings to become out of whack.

“If you’ve had an accident,” “you’ve ridden up on the curb,” or “it’s an older car,” there’s a good chance that the wheel alignment is out of whack, so it’s a good idea to adjust it once in a while.

You might even be able to bring back the handling of your new car.

Is it possible to adjust the alignment yourself?

I think it’s possible.

There are three major wheel alignment types, “Toe”, “Camber”, and “Caster”, and L400 has double wishbone front wheel alignment. So it’s almost impossible to adjust the caster, so only the toe and camber will be adjusted.

Furthermore, in the case of the L400 with rear holing (no alignment adjustment), only the front two wheels need to be adjusted, so isn’t it easier to adjust the alignment of the L400 than other cars with 4-wheel independent suspension? I also think.

What items can be adjusted in space gear?

“Toe” (direction of the tire in relation to the direction of travel) and “camber” (inclination of the tire in relation to the vertical direction) are adjustable. Toe can be adjusted by rotating the tie-rod and camber can be adjusted by loosening the “eccentric bolt” that holds the lower arm in place.

Originally, the camber adjustment is done by inserting the adjusting shims (like thin packing) at the root of the upper arm. However, I thought it would be better to adjust the lower arm since I had to buy the adjusting shims to adjust the camber.

How do you measure alignment?

“I used the Laser Marker.

It’s a machine that can produce a vertical thin curtain of light. In the old days, it was an expensive device that cost hundreds of thousands of yen, but nowadays you can buy it for a few thousand yen.

Using this device, you can project light parallel to the axle and measure the wheel’s orientation and inclination based on the dimensions from above, below, left and right of the wheel.

If you want to use trigonometric function, you can easily get the angle by using the “calculation site”, but it is not necessary this time because I aim at “0” for both toe and camber.

Impressions after alignment adjustment

I don’t know if it’s going to work or not, as it’s completely self-explanatory. It was a rough alignment adjustment, but I’m very happy with the ride after the adjustment.

First of all, the ride quality became better!
The interior of the car is clearly less shaky than before. The suspension seems to absorb the gap well.
Large protrusions and dents such as manholes, etc., which used to feel like “boom” before, have changed to a feeling of “poof” now.

Next, the centrifugal force is no longer felt.
It felt like my body was being taken outward on curves and intersections. I was thinking, “Maybe I need to replace the shock absorbers,” but now I don’t feel the need to do so.
I wonder why? Have you simply stopped rolling? It feels like the stabilizer is working properly.
Anyway, I don’t have to brace myself for the leaning of the car when I turn and driving became easy.

The tire does not squeal even if I drive with 2WD.
The tires were making a squeaky sound as I pushed the gas pedal hard as I swerved from the alley into the big road. The Space Gear is a “front heavy car” and the rear is much lighter than the front!
But after adjusting the alignment, the tires don’t squeal as much. It’s like the rear tire is firmly grounded. Does it not squeal because it is firmly grounded? Or does it not squeal because the front tire is now easier to roll? I am running with 2WD now as well as me, who is a “summer 4WD person” although I am not sure about “the summer, too”.

Can you push it with one hand? Expect to get good gas mileage!
I have heard that “a car with the alignment adjustment can be pushed easily with one hand”, so I put the gearshift in “N” and pushed it with one hand in a large parking lot. Then I found that it worked perfectly! L400 is over 2 tons, so it was wonderful. But I didn’t push it before adjusting it, so I can’t say for sure.However, I don’t feel the “deceleration” like before on curves and descents and when I brake the engine, so maybe the rolling quality has improved.I feel like my fuel economy has improved a bit. I think that 8km/liter is splendid although the warm-up operation has become longer recently.

The noise has stopped.
I was hearing a sound from under the front floor of the car like a worn out bearing. I took the hubs apart and greased up the bearings, but it didn’t improve. If the direction of the tire or knuckle is not right, the drive shaft and ball joint may be overloaded and it may have a bad influence on them.

Acceleration is better.
There is a reason why I used to drive full time 4WD, because I thought that 4WD had better acceleration, less tire wear, and less shaking. However, after the alignment adjustment, the 2WD car now has good start and runs smoothly up to TOP speed with no shaking.

Road noise is reduced and the inside of the car becomes quiet
The loudest thing about this car is the “road noise”. Especially with off-road tires, it’s pretty annoying! The Space Gear is a family car, so it may not have the same sound insulation as the Pajero, but if you get the alignment right, it will be much quieter.

Why is it so effective?

I guess the current situation was too bad.

Since hitting the front right wheel against a stone wall or something like that the last winter, it started to steer to the right, and at that time I just adjusted the right wheel camber appropriately so that the handlebars were not taken to the right. Since it was a snowy road, I didn’t even notice the poor alignment, so I’m sure I would feel the change so dramatically.

If you are driving a normal car without a history of accidents, the alignment may not be that bad, but if the torsion bar, rear coil spring, rubber bushings, etc. become worn out over time, the ride height will drop. The front suspension tends to have negative camber when the car’s height drops, so it’s better to adjust it to make it more comfortable.

I think this car is one of the cars that are prone to the noise from the suspension, so measuring and adjusting the alignment before replacing the part that is causing the noise may help to eliminate the noise.

It is also important to note that the acceleration and steering feeling is different between 4WD and 2WD.

In the next article, I’ll tell you about the actual work we did.